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Cyprus welcomes Nicolas Cage to ‘Olivewood’

NICOSIA : Watch out Hollywood and Bollywood, the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, which has built a reputation as a tourist magnet thanks to its pristine beaches, wants a piece of the action: Enter Olivewood and Nicolas Cage.

The US actor is starring in a multimillion-dollar sci-fi martial arts movie being filmed in its entirety on the island thanks to a government initiative giving filmmakers cash rebates, tax breaks and other benefits.

Cage's action-packed Jiu Jitsu (with Tony Jaa and Frank Grillo) is, along with adventure flick S.O.S: Survive Or Sacrifice featuring US actor William Baldwin, the first foreign film to take advantage of the incentive plan dubbed Olivewood.

The scheme was launched by the government, which tasked Invest Cyprus to implement it in cooperation with the tourism and finance ministries, in a bid to attract foreign investment to the country.

"Cyprus is considered by a lot of people as a studio, a physical, natural (film) studio," said Invest Cyprus chairman Michalis Michael.

The island offers deep blue seas and is endowed with white sandy beaches, rolling hills planted with olive trees, archaeological sites and traditional mountain resorts - plus year-long sunny skies.

Cage told reporters in Cyprus that the island "has been a good spirit for me".

He spoke of "the luxury" of visiting Mount Olympus, the highest point in Cyprus, and feasting on a traditional Greek lunch with a claypot-cooked lamb.

Jiu Jitsu producer Dimitri Logothetis and Martins Rozitis, who heads the production company for S.O.S: Survive Or Sacrifice, were similarly won over, but both agree that the "lack of infrastructure" remains a problem. - AFP

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